North Dakota Elk, Deer, Moose CWD Free

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Samples taken from North Dakota deer, elk and moose during the 2007 hunting season have tested negative for chronic wasting disease, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Last fall, samples were taken from more than 1,200 deer in the eastern third of the state, and nearly 60 elk and moose, and were sent to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.

Dr. Erika Butler, Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian, said the department will continue to be vigilant as sampling efforts continue in the future.

"We will continue our Hunter-Harvested Surveillance Program by sampling the entire state over a three-year period," Butler said. "Cervids in central North Dakota are scheduled for testing in 2008, while the western third of the state is scheduled for 2009."

"This couldn't have been accomplished without the cooperation of hunters, meat processors, taxidermists and local establishments," continued Butler. "They are very willing to help out with this important issue."

In addition, the department will continue to test any suspect or high risk cases throughout the year.

Since 2002, more than 10,100 North Dakota deer, nearly 300 elk and 31 moose have tested negative for CWD. To date, CWD has not been diagnosed in wild or farmed cervids in North Dakota, though it has been found in surrounding states.

Chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.

Fall 2007 samples were also submitted for bovine tuberculosis culture. Results from U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Lab on bovine tuberculosis are expected back by this spring.